Vol 73, No 1 (2022)
Original paper
Published online: 2022-02-08

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Parathyroid carcinoma — a study of 29 cases

Grzegorz Józef Kowalski1, Adam Bednarczyk1, Grzegorz Buła1, Agata Gawrychowska1, Jacek Gawrychowski1
Pubmed: 35156702
Endokrynol Pol 2022;73(1):56-63.


Introduction: Parathyroid carcinoma is a rare condition and accounts for < 1% of cases of sporadic primary hyperparathyroidism. It accounts for 0.005% of all cancers. Often the differentiation between adenoma and carcinoma is challenging and requires multidisciplinary cooperation. Complete surgical resection is the treatment of choice. We present a retrospective analysis of 29 patients who were surgically treated for parathyroid cancer.

Material and methods: Between the years 1983 and 2018, 71 (7.0%) patients were treated for suspicion of parathyroid cancer among a group of 1019 operated for primary hyperparathyroidism.

Results: We confirmed the diagnosis of parathyroid cancer in 29 (2.8%) patients, 12 men and 17 women, aged 27 to 77 years, mean 55.1 years. That constituted 43.9% of the 71 patients with initial suspicion of cancer diagnosis. All operated patients were under long-term observation.

Conclusions: A diagnosis of parathyroid carcinoma should always be considered during surgery in patients diagnosed with primary hyperparathyroidism, especially in patients with severe hypercalcaemia, significantly enlarged neck circumference, and concomitant diseases of the renal and skeletal system. Parathyroid carcinoma is rarely definitively diagnosed preoperatively or even intraoperatively, and the final diagnosis can be made exclusively after operation. The optimal treatment is a complete surgical resection at a reference centre — specialized in parathyroid surgery — to improve outcomes and provide the best chance of recovery.


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